AT&T CMO: This is how we sold millions more iPhones than Verizon In 2011

“One year ago, there was a lot of chatter about Verizon Wireless getting the iPhone and the effect it would have on rival carrier AT&T,” Elizabeth Woyke reports for Forbes.

“Now that 2011 sales have been tabulated and AT&T turns out to have activated far more iPhones than Verizon did – 17.5 million units vs. 10.8 million for Verizon – AT&T is eager to talk about its surprising success holding onto iPhone subscribers and recruiting new ones,” Woyke reports. “AT&T was fortunate to be the only U.S. carrier to offer the speedy HSPA+ technology the iPhone 4S supported. (T-Mobile USA also has HSPA+ but has not been approved by Apple to sell the iPhone.)”

Woyke reports, “A wider selection of iPhones also gave AT&T an edge on Verizon and Sprint in 2011. After the launch of the iPhone 4S, AT&T became the only U.S. carrier with a free iPhone (3GS). Christopher acknowledged that the 3GS boosted AT&T’s overall iPhone activations in 2011, but said most of AT&T’s fourth-quarter iPhone sales came from the newest model (4S), which sold for the same price across carriers.”

Read more in the full article here.

22 Comments

    1. I’ve gotten a new, subsidized iPhone every time the release a new one. The only exception has been the 4S, for which I had to wait 2 more months. So, the two year argument is a fallacy.

  1. i thought AT&T was the worst network, was Apple’s big mistake, and Verizon would dominate once it got the iPhone. That is what many blogs told us. They belittled readers who reported very good AT&T service. They insulted AT&T every opportunity they had. Well, those sources were wrong.

    1. Yep.

      Two-year contracts hardly matter when those two years are met with solid service. I wouldn’t go back to Verizon, with their VCast spam, if you paid me.

      Then again, being grandfathered into an unlimited data plan with AT&T doesn’t hurt, either.

      1. I have that same unlimited plan. Now I’m being harassed with threats of throttling for being in the “top 5%” when I hit 2gb of bandwidth near the end of the billing cycle.
        Best of all is that I used most of that with iTunes match.

        Classy that AT&T.

        1. I got the same warning from AT&T. I find it funny that top 5% of usage is 2gb but they are making people buy 3gb plans. So 95% of their customers are paying for data they never use. This is just a way to force people off the unlimited plans. I am very disappointed in this.

          1. I’ve gotten that 5% of users at 5Gb. AT&T says they’re concerned about potential network outages. This ONLY applies to us on the unlimited data plan. You can be in the 5% if you pay extra for it. What a crock. My service is great AT&T brass is not.

  2. I bet tons of customers went to AT&T to get the free 3GS and then saw the 4S along side it, then held it in their hand, then saw Siri in action, then…. You know the rest.

  3. AT&T had the benefit of giving away the 3GS, plus the 4 is more desirable since it’s a world phone, whereas VZW version is only CDMA. iPhone 5 will be a game changer….

    1. There really aren’t that many people in the U.S. who choose AT&T over Verizon because it’s a world phone. Not that many Americans travel overseas.

      AT&T said most of their iPhone sales were 4S anyway.

  4. The 2 year contract excuse is meaningless. Verizon had plenty of Android and Blackberry users coming off of 2 year contracts, and there were plenty of reports of users waiting several months to upgrade their phones because they were waiting for the iPhone, or even iPhone 4S/5.

    The fact is Verizon really isn’t any better than AT&T. Coverage is very much location specific, and the only reason AT&T received such negative coverage reporting was because it was the only iPhone carrier, so anything iPhone related was big news. The coverage issue wouldn’t have been so overblown if both Verizon and AT&T had the iPhone from the start, because each would have had its own coverage issues.

    Choose the best carrier for where you live and what you do. All the rest is peacock strutting.

  5. First of all, AT&T has had a significant head start building up a captive client base. Many people upgraded their iPhone and opted to just stay with AT&T because bottom line, even though AT&T might be the most despicable company on the face of the planet, Verizon isn’t much better. I despise the company but I decided not to jump ship because in the area I’m in, Verizon coverage is spotty, and AT&T moderately better. Still there are strange days where 3G data is slower than a snail crawling uphill. One thing is for certain. NO ONE stayed with AT&T out of satisfaction or loyalty. Just out of what is convenient at the moment.

    1. “even though AT&T might be the most despicable company on the face of the planet, Verizon isn’t much better”

      AT&T is worlds better than Verizon on customer support, friendly helpful sales people in stores, phone support, on both a personal and corporate level. The ONLY thing Verizon (may) be better at is network and that is location specific.

      To even imply that Verizon is better other than its network means you really have had very little (if any) contact with both companies.

      1. Let me put this another way Thelonious, I would literally rather be audited by the IRS while waiting for a root canal than deal with Verizon “customer service” again.

        I have actually enjoyed walking into an AT&T store, and I have never has a bad experience there since I got my original iPhone. I have well over a decade prior to that of consistent bad experiences at Verizon stores ending with the worst customer service incident I have ever experienced anywhere.

        No way can you say with credibility that Verizon is better. No way.

        1. I remember walking into a Verizon store around the 2006 time period ready to spend money on a phone upgrade. The sales people ignored me for the longest time, prefering to chat with apparent friends instead of selling phones and renewing contracts. The salesperson who eventually engaged me was not willing to help me make a selection from what was a very limited number of phone models, and soon went back to chatting with friends leaving me high and dry. Ultimately I walked out of the store absolutely, pissed off. (Yes, a customer who was ready to renew and buy a new phone – and I walked out pissed off.) How the hell does that happen?

          Went to an AT&T store the next day. They had a better selection (still pre-iPhone days) and the sales people were actually helpful. Been with them ever since and no regrets.

          Verizon can suck it!

    2. Really? No one? I didn’t realize you surveyed ever subscriber…

      Hmmm… My survey must have been lost in the mail.

      How about this–If you’re going to inject your opinion into your statements, don’t present it as fact.

      All it does it ruin your credibility.

      1. Thelonious may have credibility on other points but he has zero here. To my own dozens of personal experiences I can add literally several dozen more from friends and close family members. The huge gulf between the horrendous service at Verizon and AT&T is nearly impossible to mistake.

        The edge Verizon’s network has is completely overblown. They are superior in some areas and inferior in others. Their network is overall slower which is why they are desperately trying to install LTE which is currently garbage since all the chips that run on it are battery draining embarrassments, requiring phone sizes that only BLN could love.

        Clearly the market has spoken and Verizon’s advantages were outweighed by disadvantages.

    3. I agree Verizon has very bad customer service, but their offering (FIOS) is much much better than Comcast (PS they treat their employees even worse if you can believe that). As it relates to cell phones, we have both AT&T (iphone for family) and verizon (BB for my work issued cell), and I have known for quite some time that Verizon and AT&T dropped calls at the same rate here in Western PA.

  6. At&t is a better network for iPhone , I have it ,
    My brother is w verizon and will be switching to AT&T when his contract is up ..
    In my area anyway , can’t speak for anyone else .

  7. Since Verizon’s bass-ackward, 1980’s network can’t even support the most basic of functions (no simultaneous voice and data in 2012, how quaint!), Verizon’s not even a viable option.

  8. It’s no surprise that AT&T is having bandwidth shortages and constant crackdowns on the “top 5%”. Thanks to AT&T’s own stupidity, they just gave a big chunk of their wireless spectrum to T-Mobile. This was due to a termination clause in the failed AT&T/T-Mobile merger.

    AT&T also just gave T-Mobile a $3 billion termination fee – but they wrote that off on their taxes, so it’s more like the U.S. taxpayers gave a $3 billion cash gift to the German corporation.

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